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heartbroken to share the news that our beloved Co-Founder and
Chairman of the Board of Trustees Peter P. Blanchard III passed away
unexpectedly, but peacefully, this past Sunday, August 7. Peter
was at home in Manhattan with his wife, Sofia, and their son, Theo.
The cause was related to recent heart symptoms he had been
experiencing and for which he was briefly hospitalized. He was
70 years of age.
Peter occupied an outsized role at Greenwood Gardens, having grown up
here, and co-founding the organization with Sofia in 2003. He
was a naturalist and passionate advocate of land preservation and
conservation, writing in his 2016 op-ed in the Star-Ledger
entitled 5 Reasons Why My Family Donated 28 Acres to New Jersey,
“We view Greenwood, the landscape where I grew up, as a place worthy
of our investments in time and other resources. We gain great
fulfillment from protecting this place for ourselves and for others.”
Peter generously shared his love of nature and the arts with vast
numbers of visitors to Greenwood, skillfully leading tours and
workshops about our turkeys, and art and nature journaling. He
also took joy in interpreting the history of Greenwood itself.
You may have encountered him, along with his faithful Corgi, Ginnie,
during open season weekends at the top of the staircase leading to
the Reflecting Pool where he would welcome questions and provide
answers with humor and friendliness toward anyone interested in
learning more about the fabled estate. He dearly loved his role as a
member of the Visitors Services team and cared deeply about the
quality of the visitor experience.
Peter created a profound sense of purpose and family among the staff,
Board of Trustees, Advisory Board, volunteers, members, and donors
that will be sustained and carried on by us in preparation for the
generations still to come. We are privileged to have worked
aside such a unique individual who cared so deeply about nature, the
environment, and quality of life. Know that whenever you visit
Greenwood, Peter’s spirit will be with you.